Practical Uses for the iPad

I recently read an article that talked about how the iPad is being used in up-scale restaurants. Would it be surprising to learn that the iPad is being used as an electronic wine list?! This prompted me to evaluate the overall practicality of the iPad itself.

Understandably so, whenever a new “tech” device arrives on the scene, one of the first things that happens is people ask if it’s worth the retail price. Well, I’ve owned an iPad for almost two months now and I can say I’ve gotten my practical uses out of it for sure.

In the Workplace

You can kiss writing notes on paper goodbye! The iPad is the perfect complement for all your work meetings. There are plenty of note-taking apps available for the iPad, but the one I liked the most is Penultimate. This app allows you to create virtual notebooks, in which you can have an unlimited amount of pages of notes. The best part about it is that you can write all your notes with just your finger or you can get a fancy stylus that works with the iPad (and iPhone/iPod Touch).

I also use it while I walk around troubleshooting problems for my co-workers. I use it to take more notes or to enter things into my calendar on the fly. Everyone at my job now wants an iPad because it replaces Post-It notes (to an extant) as well as paper notepads and pens.

At Home

What’s the difference between work and home these days? For me, there is no difference, but it’s nice to be able to kick back and relax while playing a few games to hold you over until dinner. My favorite started out as FlightCTRL HD because that the first game I demoed on the iPad when I went to the Apple store to see one for the first time. It’s a super fun game that becomes really addicting really fast. My newest favorite is Texas Poker because it’s free and because it has online multiplayer capabilities.

Beyond games, the iPad serves many purposes at home, some of which are:

  • A lightweight replacement for your laptop
  • Video/movie/tv show player
  • Portable radio (Internet music and radio stations)
  • Kitchen aid for pulling up recipes
  • Alarm clock
  • Ebook reader

Speaking of ebook readers, all you Amazon Kindle owners can look no further for your next device upgrade. Yes, there’s a Kindle app for the iPad that allows you to open and read all of your already purchased Kindle books–and in full color!

On the go

If you’re actually moving while using the iPad, hopefully you’re a passenger and not the driver and if you have the 3G version, you can do everything I said above while driving to your next destination. I’ve taken my iPad almost everywhere I go. I’ve used it in stores, at gas stations, at restaurants and riding around with friends.

I think the best part of the iPad is the ability to be more portable than having a laptop, but large enough to not be stuck on the tiny screen of a smartphone.

My gripes

The iPad is great and works as well as any product can be expected, but alas…there are some gripes that I have. Just a fair warning–these gripes come from the iPad software version 3.2.2.

  • No file system – The iPad uses the same software as the iPhone and therefore has many limitations as far as file sharing, file manipulation, file storage and everything else to do with files.
  • Limited web browsing – The iPad still suffers from the limitations that affect the iPhone like no Flash support, weird Java problems and no tabbed browsing (if using Safari).
  • No printing – Even the cheapest of netbooks can print! But, I hear that wireless printing will be available on the next software update in November, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it actually works.
  • No multitasking – Yet. This is also a new feature coming out and I have a feeling, it’ll become much more useful on the iPad than it was on the iPhone.

All in all, the iPad is a great device and is very useful in the right setting, but if you’re on the fence about it, you may not really need it. It truly is just an oversized iPhone/iPod touch. If you’re looking for something closer to a netbook in features, you’ll need to get a netbook…or wait until all these new touch-screen “iPad killers” start coming out from HP, Lenovo, etc. They are supposed to integrate features of a netbook with the design and simplicity of an iPad.

List Building – Reviews

Setting up a ‘reviews’ page is a great idea to help promote the products and services you have listed on your landing pages. It might not come as a surprise, but today, more and more people are trusting what the Internet has to say about the quality and effectiveness of new products. This is causing less effectiveness over traditional advertising.

What is a review page?

Just as it sounds, it’s a place where people can discuss your products and website. If you’re running a blog, you might already have somewhat of a review system in place and that’s your comment space. Each post you make has the capability of receiving comments from everyone that reads it. By the way, make sure you read my tips about comments while you’re here.

Giving your users access to such content is very important to help sell your stuff. Of course, when you make your own website, you’re going to biased about your products and people can see right through that. It’s not to say that you’re lying, but people want to really know what the facts are.

How important are reviews and testimonials?

Ask yourself these questions: when you made your last purchase, how much research did you do on the product? If you did any, how much weight did a user’s personal review of the product hold up against the manufacturer’s description of the product?

Look at it this way, if your product starts making it around the Internet, people will review it anyway, so you might as well put some of these comments on your own site to help people along. Using review pages in conjunction with your landing pages will create a successful marketing plan.

What not to do

  • DON’T lie – Making up fake reviews and testimonials will only take you so far. Eventually someone will buy your product and if it’s not like your fake reviews said, they will blast out the truth. In time, your site will be the only one offering positive reviews on your product. And how bad will that look?!
  • DON’T disparage – Never disparage a competitor’s product that’s similar to yours. Even if yours is truly better, putting down another business will only harm your reputation and image.
  • DON’T ignore comments – If you ignore negative comments, you won’t have the chance to improve what’s wrong. Also, flooding a space with only positive remarks can have the same effect as making up reviews. Somewhere else, the truth will come out.

Go look for reviews

It’s true that not everybody will care to write positive comments for you. If you are selling products, you should go out and ask your clients to say a few things about their experience. Offer them a free link on your website or something.

If you notice your business is getting listed on sites like, start linking to them to show your customers you’re not afraid of presenting 3rd party information whether it’s negative or not.

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What happens if a trademark becomes genericized?

I was reading the article about Google™ getting denied on their trademark application for the name Nexus One. To quickly summarize the story, Google™ wanted to trademark the name Nexus Phone because of their new phone to be release, but apparently another company had already registered this name over a year ago.

The USPTO has denied the application and now we all await to see what happens. I don’t think Google™ will have any problems with this, but the whole story got me thinking about trademarks in general and the ensuing battles between stakeholders. More specifically, I started thinking about trademarks becoming genericized and what would happen to if Google™ simply became, google…

Genericizing is when the mainstream public starts using a trademark name as a generic word to describe a product or service. This usually happens by mistake, but it’s root cause stems from a company that has maybe done too great a job at marketing! Or maybe they just left a much larger impression on the public than previously expected.

Trademarks that can become genericized

To better define what I’m talking about, take the following list of brand names and ask yourself this question: Do I refer to every similar product by these names?

  • Kleenex® – The proper term for any facial tissue not made by Kleenex® is simply facial tissue.
  • Q-Tips® – Off brands are known as cotton swabs.
  • Xerox® – You didn’t make a “xerox” of something unless you did it on a Xerox® copy machine.
  • Adobe Photoshop® – People always attribute all photo editing as “photoshopping”, but this is incorrect. (Side note: I was reading an interesting page on Adobe’s own website outlining the proper usage of the term and all of their trademarks and it’s very specific.)
  • Band-Aid® – What else would you call it? That’s right, a bandage.
  • Blow Pop® – Not every sucker is one–just the ones made by Charms® which is now owned by Tootsie®.

I’m pretty sure you get the gist by now. So, what might happen if the brand name Google™ became a generic term for searching? If you really think about it, how many times a week do you tell someone to “google it” when they ask you something you don’t know? How many times a day even?!

I was watching an episode of the recently cancelled show, The Forgotten and in one of the scenes, they are searching Google™, but the logo was replaced with one of similar colors and simply titled ‘Web Search’. The rest of the page was google and it was clearly obvious. Ok fine, they didn’t want to pay for the use of the name, but…

In another scene, someone asks this woman how they got their information and she clearly says, “We googled it…” For anyone who knows anything about the trademarking process, you know that part of your responsibility as a trademark owner is to protect your brand and part of this protection is to ensure that it does not become a genericized term (as Adobe® outlines on their website above).

Trademarks that lost their trade value

To further clarify my point, here’s a list of some terms that were once valued trademarks:

  • Aspirin – Bayer® used to own this as one of their trademarks until it was declared generic.
  • Cellophane – Originally owned by DuPont®.
  • Dry ice – Believe it or not, the Dry Ice Corporation of America once owed this term!
  • Escalator – Once owned by the Otis Elevator Company.
  • Yo-Yo – Declared generic in 1965.
  • Laundromat – Once a proud brand, now a generic term for all coin-op laundry facilities.
  • Heroin – Another trademark taken from it’s original owner, Bayer®.

Whether these trademarks lost their “trade” value or not is open for debate, but what is clear is that each term has found it’s way into our very vocabulary. In fact, just looking at the list above, you may not have even known that these were once brand names.

All this talk about trademarks and losing them got me thinking about registering my own company name and logo for the sake of protection, but even then, nothing is guaranteed, right? At any rate, I bought a book on the subject and I must say, it has a wealth of information about all the ins and outs of trademarks and such. One of these days, I’ll actually get around to reading the step-by-step guide!

Ultimately, nobody can predict the future, but I ask again, what would the world be like if Google™ appeared in the dictionary without the capital G?